Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Medical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. April Hatcher


Team-based learning (TBL) is one strategy for improving team-work and critical thinking skills. It has proven to be an engaging teaching pedagogy in face-to-face classes, however, to our knowledge, has never been implemented online in a 3-D virtual world. We implemented virtual TBLs in an online undergraduate anatomy course using Second LifeTM, and evaluated whether it engaged students. This study was conducted over 2 semesters with 39 total students. Surveys and content analysis of transcripts were used to evaluate student engagement. Our results indicate virtual TBLs were engaging for most students. The average engagement score was 7.8 out of 10 with 89.2% of students reporting a score of 6 or above. Students exhibited high levels of cognitive engagement during the clinical application portion of the TBL process. Males felt more emotionally engaged than females, however, most measures of engagement indicated no differences between groups of students (mode of communication, previous technology experience, gender, and performance); therefore, virtual TBLs may be engaging for a broad range of students. 95% of students agreed that this was a worthwhile experience. In light of this evidence, we feel that virtual TBL sessions are valuable, and could be implemented in other online courses.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)